There was a knock on his door – startling his heart with a jolt. He stared at it for the third time as the knock came echoing through his empty apartment again. He wasn’t expecting anyone, not anymore anyway. Those cold brown orbs still burned up behind his eyelids.
Not a single part of him hoped anymore that she’d change her mind; he was exhausted with hurting her and he was tired of the crippling fear of having her leave him. She’s left. They were done. He’d ruined all of his chances and he was too tired to fight any more.
Everyone leaves eventually, at least now all he could worry about was the fear and panic that came with the idea of his brother disappearing again for a second time.
A frown tugged at his lips at that thought, his head low as he opened the door, not even bothering to look up to see who was behind it, until she’d spoken.
‘Oh Jake.’ He looked up, his eyes snapping wide in surprise and concern. Quinn.
She smiled and leaned up to touch his cheek, wiping away at tears he hadn’t even realized he’d cried in his sleep. Maybe he really was more exhausted than he realized.
‘What are you doing here?’ He asked, unsure what to think about seeing her there in front of him; unsure what to feel about that unwarranted concern or the way she was looking at him right now or how the feel of her hand on his cheek was the most comfort he’d gotten in months.
“I-I got worried. I know how badly you take…well…everything…and when we last talked I remembered about your parents…and I went and checked…and the people there…I was just worried.” She explained, making his chest heave breathlessly with every word. He offered her a soft smile as he held her hand, squeezed it reassuringly and pressed his lips on her forehead his thumbs gliding softly against the ring around her finger. She pulled back and he made no comment, opting to save them both the discomfort.
‘You didn’t have to come here,” He whispered once the silence became too much to bear. “You could’ve just called.” He added, already looking around for fear that someone might have followed her and all too ready to strike. He couldn’t stay with her for so many reasons after all and protecting her was the largest of them.
“You mean with this phone?” She asked, pulling out his phone he hadn’t even realized he was missing. She smiled and thrust it carefully into his hand, wrapping her dainty little fingers around his. He’d forgotten having someone know him better than he did, someone he wasn’t terrified of sharing secrets with. He hadn’t been broken down like that again until…Silver.
He stared down at the phone until it all clicked in his head and he looked up at the reason why they’d broken up.
“I know how important this phone is to you. It’s the one phone you never leave around and when you left it, I knew you were in over your head. I just had to make sure you were safe. I’m sorry if I’m being a bother now – I’ll leave as soon as you tell me you’re okay.” He laughed, a miserable sorry laugh at himself as he shook his head, kissing her softly on the forehead again. She froze and he could imagine why but she didn’t pull away, just looked up at him again, concern just emanating from those big green orbs.
“You’re sad again. Where’s Silver? Can I meet her?” She asked, obviously hoping Silver would give her some context to his somber mood. He shook his head and folded his arms over his chest, more exhausted than he’d ever appeared before as he leaned his back on the wall.
“We broke up. Actually, she broke up with me. Gotten tired of me I suppose. Thought I left her for you.” He replied with a sad smile, shaking his head to make the feelings at the brim of his throat go away.
“But you didn’t. You’d never do that. You love her…right?” She asked, torn behind her own question. Jake looked her square in the eye and nodded.
“I do, I love her.” He answered with another sigh, pulling away from the door to pull a shirt over his head and a jacket.
“So why aren’t you trying to get her back?” She asked from the door, her eyes watching his movement like an eagle.
“What’s the point?” He asked back stopping on the last button of his jacket to look at her. “She’s tired. She doesn’t love me any more. I’m tired. I don’t want to hurt her any more. And she’ll never believe me even when I say I’d want her over the world or nothing because I’ll always be Jake the guy who leaves, Jake the asshole Jake the fucker who can’t even stay or do the right thing when it counts the most. She’s right on most accounts.” He finished, taking her hand and leading her out.
“You’re none of that, Jake.” She whispered, squeezing his hand. “Where are we going?”
“Your home. Your Father must be fucking worried about you right now.” He ignored her confidence in him, the feeling not the same as it would have been from Silver.
“I’ll talk to her for you! I’ll explain to her that it was all a misunderstanding! I can’t be the reason you’re uhappy, Jake!” She half-shouted, pulling her hand out of his grip as soon as they were outside and he’d answered her question. He could see tears at the brink of her eyelids, pain irrefutable in her eyes.
“Quinn…” He started with a soft chuckle, holding her face close to his. “It’s not your fault I’m always in pain. It’s not your fault my brother left. It’s not your fault my parents died and I’ve been screwed up even more ever since. And it’s not your fault that the fucking love of my life can’t ever trust me to come back to her when shit goes down because I do what they hope I never do. I always disappoint them. So no, none of this is your fault. I’ve stopped expecting myself to be happy. I’ve stopped expecting people to stay because they don’t. And I’ve got nothing left inside of me to get broken so you don’t have to look at me with those doe eyes of yours and start worrying, I’ll be fine. I may have nothing left but I’ve still got Pete to look after. I still got my brother.”
She flung his arms around his neck and he just smiled sadly as he hugged her back. “You’ve still got me.” He frowned and just nodded, squeezing her back just as tightly before pushing her away.
“Not for long,” he teased trying to add more life into his tone as he pulled out her ring finger. She tried to smile, the inflection of a frown just underneath the surface. He forced another smile and she chuckled and shook his head at him. He turned around and squeezed her hand again only to see Silver right across the street from them.
“Jake is that her?” Quinn asked, looking up at him. Jake looked down and nodded, grabbing her by the wrist and making her walk away with him. ‘But Jake, I can fix this. I can explain to her what happened! I can get you two back together.”
Jake just shook his head and kept walking, tightening his grip on her hand while the weight of her stare was still on his back. “She needs to get used to the sight of me walking away.” He explained, not really looking down at Quinn either. “Until she barely notices I’m there anymore.”
“Are you leaving again?” she asked and Jake shook his head.
“I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t think I can keep walking away from her like this for long.”